Thursday, July 4, 2013

An Organized Desk and a Wondering Mind {Linky Party Double Up}

Happy Independence Day! The teacher in my lay awake in bed last night and wondered if my students would remember all the countless times I'd told them the real reason we have the "4th of July"?! Glimpses inside the mind of a teacher...sometimes scary!

                                                     Source: Uploaded by user via Heather on Pinterest

Now, on to the business of today's post. I'm doing double duty on this holiday and linking up with two fabulous bloggers! 

Organization is one of my favorite topics, so I knew I had to link up with Jessica at Joy in the Journey for this week's Tricks of the Trade link up. It's all about keeping your teacher desk organized! 

My must have for a teacher desk is my inbox. It is the collection place/drop box for all the important pieces of paper that need my attention. 

I ordered that adorable magnet from Vistaprint a few years ago and my wonderful mother gave me the Longaberger basket as a Christmas gift right before I graduated from college! 

The inbox is one of the first procedures I teach my students. Here are the things that students may put in my inbox: excuses, permission slips, notes from parents, late homework, and makeup work. I also teach students that if they come in tardy I will keep teaching and they need to place their tardy slip in my inbox, have a seat, and get in on the lesson. 

This box has helped keep me sane. I could count on one hand the number of papers I've ever lost (at school) because everything goes into the inbox. In the morning as students are arriving no one ever hands me papers that I will subsequently lay down in some random place.

I make it a point to go through my inbox every day (sometimes twice a day) and take care of anything that needs some action from me.  My goal is to always have an empty inbox by the end of the day. 

Okay, I know you can tell I LOVE that inbox....I could really just talk about it is that good. Oh and I've seen some pretty nice plastic containers at Wal Mart that would make a perfect inbox! 

I'm also joining up with I'm Lovin' Lit for the very first Thursday Throwdown. 

When I think of interactive I think of engaging students in conversation and deeper thinking, so I'm going to share something I tried with my class last year and we all loved! 

A few times a week at the beginning of the day I take 2 minutes and ask everyone what they are wondering. It could be anything. Some students wonder about class, recess, a special activity, a family member, and someone always wonders about what their pet is doing! I never put any "rules" to this wondering session, it was their time to share whatever they wanted.

Now, I'm sure you're wondering how this is relevant to learning? I want to send the message to my students that 1) this is a classroom for thinking and I expect them to wonder about things and 2) I WANT them to share what they are wondering about. I put a high premium on wondering and thinking just by asking this little question. 

When we were in the middle of a lesson, any kind of lesson, I would stop and say, "Hmm...I'm wondering..." and students picked up on this and ran with it. It is a fabulous strategy for getting kids to predict and question when reading. 

I feel like it made for a more engaging, interactive classroom community because it was sending the message that conversations about what you are wondering are encouraged in this classroom. 

It also does double duty as a way very quick, fun way to get to know more about your students! 

Don't forget to stop by tomorrow for my Team Teaching Tips linky party. 


  1. I love both of these idea! I'm definitely going to steal the "I'm wondering..." idea. As for the inbox, my fear is that I would also use it to keep papers off my desk instead of filing them. (Kind of 'out of sight, out of mind'.) I wish I was more organized in that department! :)

    Mrs. Laffin's Laughings

  2. Love the inbox idea! I guess my stool was an inbox of sort! The basket is such a better choice! Great tip!

    Fabulous Fifth Grade Fun

  3. An inbox is genius! It gives students a place to put all those random notes they are so eager to give you when they walk in in the AM. Thanks for sharing!

    Amanda @
    Teacher at the Wheel

  4. Have you used at all with students? It is fantastic for getting kids to read. Plus it integrates reading comp. and vocabulary. We also use it to work on science, history, and math topics.

  5. I like your inbox idea! It would help me from losing all of those little notes, late papers, etc. I also like the I wonder idea- great way for kids to start wondering and making inquiries in science, math, reading, life!! Thanks for sharing your ideas!

    Teaching Special Kids

  6. OK. 1) I've already made my inbox in my mind. 2) Your wondering idea is AWESOME. What a great way to spark natural research and problem solving!
    Thanks for linking up.
    :) Erin
    I'm Lovin Lit

  7. Love the "I'm wondering" idea. School is often mostly about the academics. The I'm wondering gets into the personal side of students. Gonna write that one down in my idea notebook. Thanks for sharing :)

    Shenanigans in 6th Grade Math

  8. Your inbox idea is great! It's good that you are so disciplined about emptying it each day.

    Thanks for linking up!

    Compassionate Teacher

  9. LOVE the inbox and love even more the idea of "wondering". I think our students should be encouraged to question and ponder.....



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...